Feedback that works

Offering feedback when the news isn’t so positive can be difficult. We can reduce the stress by implementing a few critical steps.

The first three steps I introduced in my video “Feedback that works”.

Critical steps for feedback that works

  1. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET – Instead of telling yourself this is going to be a difficult conversation, replace that thought with the idea that you are helping someone improve their performance versus holding them back.
  2. REMEMBER YOUR ROLE AS A LEADER – Is to improve company performance and that comes through delivering coaching and feedback.
  3. BALANCE YOUR FEEDBACK – People are much more inclined to hear difficult news and take action when it is not the only message they hear. They need to know from you what is going well.
  4. PREPARE FOR THE CONVERSATION – Never go into a feedback conversation without having thought through what you are going to say, what reaction you expect to get, and how you will respond. I suggest rehearsing the conversation ahead of time.
  5. SPEAK OBJECTIVELY – If for any reason you are feeling angry, hurt, or emotionally upset, wait until these emotions cease before having the conversation.
    a. The SITUATION – about which you are offering feedback. For example. “In our project meeting last Thursday”, or “In the e-mail response to the CIO on March 22nd”.
    b. The BEHAVIOR – what the person did. For example, “You interrupted Robert and Elizabeth several times and dismissed their suggestions” or “You didn’t answer the CIO’s questions in your e-mail”. Be sure to be ready to share specific examples that will help the other person understand what they ‘did’. Also, try to avoid including your perception. Perceptions come through our life experiences and can be interpreted differently so you don’t want to debate over the way you viewed something versus someone else. Stick to the facts and focus on the behavior.
    c. The IMPACT – Explain the impact that the other person’s behavior had on you, another person, or the group, etc. For example, “Robert came to me after the meeting and said he was not willing to partner with you until some things changed”, or “By not answering the CIO’s questions in your e-mail, I received a call from her and she stated she was upset that she didn’t get a clear response in time for her meeting with the CEO”, or “The way you are treating people are impacting the way they are working with our group. I’d like to see how you can improve your interactions with others”.
  7. BUILD TRUSTING RELATIONSHIPS – Along your career so that when you do need to offer feedback you have that relationship to fall back on. This doesn’t happen in one meeting or brief interaction at the water-cooler. It entails engaging in conversations that include talking about the overall needs of the business, their needs and your needs.

Giving effective feedback is both a science and an art. Successfully leaders have both. If you would like assistance in developing your leadership skills, please contact The C3 Group at